One of my favorite stalkees is here today!!!! 🙂 Yes, it’s becoming Christmas time, so I thought it was an excellent time to spread the holiday cheer AND showcase one of my ALL TIME favorites! If you don’t know her, she writes that totally fantastic Sentinels of New Orleans series, and under Susannah Sandlin she writes the Penton Legacy series… Seriously, she has some great stuff and she’s only adding to her goodies! So now, let me show you some goodies! And maybe there’s something special at the end but make sure and read to find out!
Christmas in Dogtown
Genre: Sweet Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Story Vault
Date of Publication: December 2012
Number of pages: 30
Word Count: approx. 11,000
A woman who spent years escaping her rural past learns that Dogtown, Louisiana, hides more family secrets than just the recipe for boudin blanc…..
Resa Madere’s on the verge of losing it all. The boyfriend’s gone. The job’s history. Her beloved house is on the brink of foreclosure. She’ll do anything to save it—even spend a long Christmas holiday working in St. James Parish, Louisiana, helping her uncle run the family meat business. But the community of Dogtown, which has been home for seven generations of the Madere and Caillou families, has deep roots and deeper secrets. For Resa, going home is one thing.
Getting out might not be so easy.
“You are stupid,” Resa told her reflection in the tiny, scratched mirror of the White Castle’s rose-pink bathroom. “Stupid, ridiculous, and absurd.”
She’d been wrestling with her curly black hair for a half hour, and the brown eyes that stared back at her from beneath freshly plucked brows and carefully applied eyeliner looked more jittery than sexy. “And idiotic.”
First, it had been almost a week since Chan had asked her to the Saturday night community dance, popping the question almost shyly as they hacked at the bodies of gigantic dead fish. They’d both been covered in blood and smelled like they’d been rolling in bait, which should have tipped her off that anything in Dogtown reeking of romance, well, reeked.
Second, her potential date had left immediately after asking her out so he could catch an alligator that had eaten somebody’s poodle in one of those backwater houses near the swamp. He burned rubber out of the Madere’s driveway after making sure he had enough duct tape to wrap around the gator’s jaws. Adequate duct tape was not an attribute she’d ever sought in a man.
Let me start by saying I love Ms Johnson! I love everything she touches, including her facebook updates LOL! So when this first was coming out, I snagged a copy… but I hadn’t read it until I jumped on this blot tour. I know, bad dog Maghon! Let me also say that as a native to all of the places she talks about, it’s just so awesome to read this one! AND… the best part about this book- to me- the main character came to MY COLLEGE!! I feel so much kinship 🙂 She talk about college at ULL- University of Louisiana at Lafayette. High five!!! And that’s also where I’m from, well I’m actually about 20ish miles south but you get it! So if I take DJ, Jake, and Mirren out of the equations, this is my favorite book! Lol 🙂 ok now on to the real stuff.
Theresa, aka Resa, is out of a job, out of a jerk boyfriend, and officially out of money. So, most people from a small town can’t wait to get out of that small town- not me, but.most. Resa. Isn’t any different, she ran fast and hard to get out and now to her most horrific shame, shes coming back. Yes shes coming back to male money, but she’s coming back to help her beloved uncle. Much to her mother’s dismay, she wants nothing to do with the customs or the old childhood friend everyone thinks she should marry…. until she is back. She’s a modern day woman. She doesn’t want to ask for money, she wants to earn it. She doesn’t want to be treated like the little kid she was when she left, she’s a woman. She’s a little stubborn but nothing most of us aren’t. And she handles that big ole whammy pretty well. We south Louisiana folk aren’t scared of much. Lol
Yes, there’s a hawt male piece. Yes, I love him… I’m looking for him, gators and all, and yes you will love this sweet little romance. No, I will not go into details. You will have to read this one for those goodies. I did love chandler, and uncle Emile, and even her mom. But you’ll have to make your own opinions.
The writing is also excellent when Ms Johnson is writing. But I wasn’t expecting to love a short story this much! I seriously hope we see a little more of Resa and Chandler, maybe with DJ and the gang, if not on their own 🙂 It’s also the perfect Louisiana Christmas story. We surround our holidays with food and family. And this story just gives me more reason to love where I live!! It’s a perfect time to slip this one in. It’s short, sweet, and the perfectly written holiday cheer story! 5 PAWS oooooh. Maybe today in honor of Chandler I’ll say 5 Gator Claws!! 🙂
Author Guest Post! Country Holidays, Louisiana Style
Somehow, it became a winter tradition. My friends from New Orleans and I would pile in a car the second weekend of November and make the trek west along the winding Mississippi Great River Road to St. Charles Parish, where we’d spend the day at the annual Destrehan Plantation’s annual fall festival.
A beautifully restored plantation house and its sprawling, oak-shaded grounds sits across from the river levee, and we’d spend the whole day visiting the house and antique barn, listening to local bands play, and eating—crawfish bread, pralines, roasted peanuts.
For a couple of years, when I was making art quilts, I had “Yat Cat Quilt” T-shirts printed up and had a booth along with my friend Debbie, who made quilted tea cozies. Most of the years, though, I was on the visitor end of things rather than the seller end.
And yeah, I’ll admit it now, I went for the crawfish bread. Think of a fresh French loaf, hollowed out and then stuffed with a mixture of crawfish tails and cheese and tomatoes and cheese and butter and garlic and cheese. (Did I mention cheese?)
I drew on another favorite winter tradition for “Christmas in Dogtown,” a story about family and tradition and what “home” means: my semi-annual trek to LaPlace, Louisiana, in St. John the Baptist Parish, also west of New Orleans. Now, the locals will tell you they’re “Bailey’s People” or they’re “Jacob’s People,” meaning they prefer the smoked meats from either Jacob’s Smokehouse or Bailey’s (next door).
In “Dogtown,” Teresa Madere has fallen on some rough times so she agrees to leave New Orleans for the month of December and help her uncle run Madere’s Meats out in St. James Parish (just keep heading west and you’ll get there). In my crossroads community of Dogtown, people from the city drive out to buy their holiday meats from either the Maderes or the Caillous, the two main families in town.It was fun to pull on some Cajun culture to not only tell about the mystery behind the Dogtown community, but also the culture of boudin and andouille and tasso and smoked alligator gar.
It’s not as exotic as it sounds, so in case you want to know more about what Resa’s having to do in “Dogtown,” here’s a quick “meat primer” of the Louisiana river parishes (chime in here, Maghon!): *PFFFT, I love food, so I’m all in :)*
–Andouille, pronounced “ahn-DOU-eee,” is a smoked pork sausage sort of like a spicier kielbasa. It’s used to make red beans and rice (red beans spiced and cooked down to a mush, with andouille and rice) and jambalaya (a rice dish that usually mixes spices and rice with andouille and either chicken or shrimp, or both). I’m sure others use it in all kinds of other things, but those are the main things I make with it. *Maghon wants to know what on earth is Kielbasa…. yeah, I’ll keep eating my yummy homemade andouille! and also with andouille…. GUMBO, AND bar-B-Q, and probably 50 other things LOL 🙂 *
–Boudin, pronounced “boo-DAN,” is basically “dirty rice” in a sausage casing and unless otherwise noted is synonymous with “boudin blanc.” The rice is mixed with pork or shrimp or crawfish, and then seasoned well and stuffed in the sausage casing. One of my favorite memories was when my mom came to visit me in New Orleans for the first time and I served some crawfish boudin with my red beans. She didn’t say anything but I noticed she kept picking something out of her food. She finally said she didn’t eat grub worms. Needless to say, no more crawfish boudin for her (it was crawfish tails, not grub worms…really!). *HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Boudin is a WONDERFUL breakfast, but only if you can handle spicy that early in the morning- which I can! But I like the regular, not the darker cooked ones like the boudin noir…. gag! 🙂 OH And crawfish boudin as AWESOME!!!*
There are also variations: boudin balls are balls of the rice mixture that’s battered and fried instead of stuffed into the sausage casings and boiled or grilled. “Boudin noir” has the blood and organ meats in it. Suzanne doesn’t care for boudin noir, thank you. In “Dogtown,” Resa weasels out of making it whenever she can.
And yep, I have had alligator boudin, as well as alligator sausage. It doesn’t taste like chicken! *no, but alligator is very very yummy! or at least to me…. 🙂 *
Don’t like the sound of that stuff? No worries—“Dogtown” also has a sexy guy with moss-green eyes and the St. James Parish bonfires. Each year, bonfires are built along the river levees and set ablaze on Christmas Eve to help Papa Noel find his way to all the Cajun boys and girls when he arrives in his pirogue (kind of a flat-bottomed canoe). It’s a beautiful sight, and for those of us making our winter pilgrimages out of New Orleans, a sure sign that the holidays are here! *hehehehe that’s pronounced PEE-ROE, you know that yankees wouldn’t know how to say that 😉 *
Have you ever tried any of the Louisiana cuisine—if so, what’s your favorite thing? I’ll choose one winner to receive a digital version (Kindle or Nook) of “Christmas in Dogtown!”
Ok, before the giveaway starts, Maghon would like to explain that creole and cajun food is NOT the same. LOL Yes, we eat all of those things about, AND MORE, we just happen to cook them a little different. Creole is a lot more veggie and tomato based, same spicy yummyness, where cajun has more flower and butter- if you didn’t think there was enough butter already, we add EVEN more. So, my gumbo and jambalaya I make at home (which is Cajun) is probably a little different that what Ms S is talking about. It will have more flower, more butter, and no tomatoes, and no okra- though I do like okra just not in my gumbo! LOL However, I can vouch that New Orleans has some FANTASTIC food- I go there just for it. 🙂 Like Deanies, and red fish grill and my very favorite bar, Pat O’Briens! And where I’m from, which is literally straight west of New Orleans, just follow the coastline, is just as good 🙂 Each has it’s own specialties and there’s a reason why I’m a chubby kid… I know good food when I eat it LOL 🙂
The picture below is something I made, it’s a cucumber salad- literally lettuce and cucumbers LOL- and a seared steak. No that isn’t cajun, but it’s a favorite of mine…
NOW THIS IS CAJUN! LOL So, this is fried soft shell crab (YUM) on top of a seafood augratin sauce (MORE YUM) and angel hair pasta…. Yes, I happen to feel the need to mix everything bad for you into one mess of awesomeness. 🙂 it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever cooked 🙂
About the Author:
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance (under the name Susannah Sandlin) from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series.
As Ms Suzanne said earlier, if you happen to be one of MY cool followers (LOL OR HERS) you should leave a comment below of what’s your favorite Louisiana cuisine to win an ebook copy of Christmas in Dogtown! It’s so good! You should enter anyways 🙂 OR maybe if you haven’t tried out our wonderful awesomeness (Dear Heather Hildenbrand- remember I made you eat alligator and you liked it LOL) you can maybe tell me something you’d LIKE to try…. Hmmmm, maybe if you’re not a lucky book winner, I’ll send you the recipe you want, really cajun or creole style 🙂
Ms Suzanne…. Have I told you lately I love you! That’s an EPICLY COOL guest post! I love that you are always that fantabulous! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You are a one of a kind special lady… PS…. I hope you watched that Bama Auburn game— I DID!!! I so laughed and thought immediately of you after that crazy moment! 🙂 I’ll be spending the weekend in NOLA right before Christmas for ULL vs Tulane in the bowl game! I’ll send fun pictures 🙂
I wish you all good luck… remember to leave your comment to win! Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for giving me greatness! 🙂 Happy reading and later gators!